Thursday, July 2, 2020

VISITING HELL’S KITCHEN, WHERE MY FATHER WORKED ON THE TUGS by Dan O’Connell

“It was only in wine that Confucius laid down no limit for himself, but he did not allow himself to be confused by it.”

“Alcibiades bade the attendant fill it again for Socrates. Observe, my friends, said Alcibiades, that this ingenious trick of mine will have no effect on Socrates, for he can drink any quantity of wine and not be at all nearer being drunk.”   

battered Irish bar every half block and corner
all chipped dark wood like a clipper’s cabin

framed slogans supporting an erstwhile revolt
and fossilized jokes about Paddy going to heaven

dented crane-shaped men, skin scaly as fish
women like weather-beaten bollards

bartender’s curse-crusted pleasantries
and a fight between friends for no reason

every inch filled with mirror or realia
I try the tap at each one –

Mary Magee’s, Tempest Bar, Tailor’s Club,
Scallywags, The Playwright, Gossip,

DJ Reynolds, Smith’s, and then the bastards
O’Connell, O’Neill, O’Malley

and finally Hellcat Annie’s where
the Westies gang plotted murder –

until I’m satisfied of my complete sobriety
like Confucius or Socrates 

and start the morning walking toward
Penn Station but wake up

on the emerald cement of 
Hudson River shipyard







Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, and multiple finalist and honorable mention. His poems have appeared over seventy times, including in Mississippi Review, Homestead Review, San Francisco Reader, Parthenon West Review, RavensPerch and Ghost Town Review. A former Philosophy and Rhetoric professor, Dan has his own law practice with a focus on protecting renters and workers. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Different Coasts, and Theory of Salvation. Find Dan O. at www.danoconnellpoetry.com














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